I lost my mother last night. I sat down at the computer to try and capture the moment, use it later in a novel or something. I described her body lying peacefully in the bed, the flowery duvet cover, the table lamp weakly illuming the cupboard (I used that word ‘illuming’—poetic, huh?), but it was lame. She was a dead old woman in a bed. That was the reality. Hardly literary gold, is it? After I buried her, I hit upon a novel idea. I sometimes called bingo at the Seagrove OAP home and this gave me access to the kitchens and staff areas. I would contaminate a few meals with various weed killers then observe the deaths for use in fiction. First to croak was Mrs Thomson who stood up in the canteen and clutched her neck. She wobbled and sputtered and shrieked her son’s name—DAN-UCK-UCK-IEL!—before she crashed into Mrs Bea’s mash potatoes, sending the peas flying in a beautiful arc. Brilliant! Well, so I thought. When I went home to write it all down, the scene was comically grotesque. I wanted a scene that moved the reader to tears, not made them giggle in secret. There was nothing for it—I’d have to smother my son and write down my wife’s reaction. I crept into my son’s bedroom with a pillow then I . . . nah! I didn’t really! Ha! YOUR FACE! And I didn’t really poison the old woman either! HAHA! And my mother’s fighting fit! OH YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN YOUR FACE! My Lord, what a hoot this fiction lark.